As announced this month, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The case involves constitutional issues such as the separation of powers, but there’s a lot more going with this agency. As Judicial Fortitude author Peter J. Wallison notes, the CFPB is “the brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth Warren,” and that makes a case for closer examination.
Her claims to Cherokee ancestry have been exposed as a fraud, yet Warren remains a leading contender for the Democrat nomination for president. In her 2014 A Fighting Chance, Warren maintained the fake Cherokee claims and also billed herself as an economic expert.
Nobody in this country “got rich on his own,” she explains. Rather, “you moved goods on the roads the rest of us paid for” and used workers “the rest of us paid to educate.” You were safe in your factory “because of police and fire forces the rest of us paid for.” And so on, the same Big Brother view as POTUS 44. If people are in financial distress, Warren blames their problems on the banking industry, portrayed as the flywheel of capitalist greed and trickery. That view comes across in the structure of the CFPB.
As Wallison notes, the CFPB was given plenary authority to enforce all federal laws that apply to financial transactions with consumers, and more. CFPB power was “broadened beyond existing laws” to take enforcement action on any action it finds “unfair, deceptive, or abusive.” Since “abusive” is not defined, this served up “a vast field for the agency to define and pursue.” Wallison finds this a “dangerous step in support of an even more powerful and uncontrolled administrative state.”
For example, the CFPB director gets a five-year term fully protected from removal by the president other than for “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance.” This places the director outside the control of the president, “whose ability to pursue the policies he was elected to implement depends crucially on the ability to remove and replace the senior officials of executive agencies.” Trump nominee Brett Kavanaugh is already on record that the CFPB director is the most powerful person in the federal government, aside from the president. And it gets worse.
The CFPB gets funding not from Congress but the Federal Reserve, and the money comes at the request of the CFPB director. And under the enabling Dodd-Frank legislation, the Fed has “no ability to affect the agency’s actions.” So Warren’s CFPB is beyond the control of Congress, and if the Supreme Court upholds the status quo, “it would be possible for Congress to create other agencies that are beyond the control of any elected body.”
Wallison finds that “even more dangerous to democracy than some might initially think.” Those dubious or puzzled might find a parallel in the so-called Affordable Care Act.
Americans had been accustomed to choosing their health plan but under Obamacare, Americans got only the health care the government wanted them to have. It was a complete disaster but cleared the way for Hillary Clinton to impose the “public option,” or “single payer,” more accurately government monopoly health care. First she had to win the election, and she didn’t.
In similar style, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, is groundwork for more government control of the economy. Based on the experience in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the Eastern Bloc, Cuba and now Venezuela, that would be disastrous for the economy. Friedrich Hayek was on to that from the start in The Road To Serfdom but leading Democrats and their media allies don’t know Friedrich Hayek from Selma Hayek.
Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and her groupies tout “democratic socialism” and all its “free” benefits, with no downside. They are regarded as the “far left” extremists, but Elizabeth Warren, allegedly more sensible, is by far the more radical socialist. Socialism involves state command of the economy, and Elizabeth Warren already has a federal agency to spearhead the takeover.
If the Supreme Court leaves the CFPB in place, and simply nixes the measure that forbids the president to remove the director without case, Wallison explains, “will mean that it is still possible for Congress to create agencies that are beyond Congress’s appropriation power.” That is a clear and present danger to democracy and the nation’s economic health.
As Milton Friedman noted, federal agencies are easy to start but practically impossible to eliminate. The CFPB, a beachhead for socialism, serves no worthwhile purpose. President Trump, should target the CFPB for elimination, and that would add to his roster of accomplishments.
The Supreme Court, with Trump nominees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, is expected to rule on Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by late June. On November 3, 2020, voters go to the polls. As the president says, we’ll see what happens.